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Registration opens for the Theatre Plays on British Television conference, 19 October 2012

We are very pleased to announce that registration is now open for the Theatre Plays on British Television conference, the first major conference to be organised by the AHRC-funded Screen Plays research project at the University of Westminster. The programme for the conference, which will be held in central London on Friday 19 October 2012, will consist of four panels, a plenary discussion and a screening event with wine reception. The registration fee for the day is £25 and registration will close on Friday 5 October 2012. We look forward to welcoming you to the conference in October! Continue reading

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Androcles and the Lion (BBC, 1938, 1946, 1951)

Looking at the profusion of George Bernard Shaw productions in the medium’s early years I was particularly struck that there were three presentations of his 1913 ‘fable’ Androcles and the Lion between 1938 and 1951. Each of these – the middle one was in 1946 – appears to have been a distinct presentation, although all three were mounted by producer Desmond Davis. The play has also been given twice more, in 1960 and 1983, on both occasions in strands made for schools. Did this mean, I wondered, that if the plays of Shakespeare were excluded, this was television’s most performed play? Continue reading

Heartbreak House (BBC, 1958, 1977)

The first television production of George Bernard Shaw’s Heartbreak House came during a golden decade for Shaw on the small screen. During the 1950s there were at least twenty-four full-length adaptations of his dramas for television, and that includes counting as just one the five-part Back to Methusaleh presented by the BBC in the early summer of 1952 (nothing of which was recorded). The only other occasion that British television has tackled the sprawling state-of-the-nation piece that is Heartbreak House was in 1977, when a Play of the Month presentation was something of a directing swansong for the long-serving producer of the strand, Cedric Messina. Continue reading

Emitron camera at Alexandra Palace